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Have stocks hit their vertical limit?

Stocks are mixed this Thursday morning as NASDAQ continues to climb, but the DJIA is slightly lower, and the S&P 500 is flat. The market’s lofty heights may finally be scaring some investors away, but some are likely responding to today’s grim news from the retail sector. Both Macy’s (M) and Kohl’s (KSS) warned that their holiday sales were going to fall well short of expectation. The market is pummeling both companies and smacking around the rest of brick and mortar retail as well. Shares of M are down 14%, shares of KSS down 18%, and JC Penney is down 7.5%.

West Texas Intermediate crude is trading at $53.79. At present, the S&P 500 is flat, the DJIA is down 0.01%, and the NASDAQ is up 0.30%.

Here are your Thursday morning market metrics. Industries doing well today include metals & mining, internet & catalog retail, and construction materials. Industries showing weakness include multiline retail, real estate management, and textiles. The VIX is down 0.85% to 11.75 after closing on Wednesday at 11.85. The most heavily traded options this morning are for the SPDR S&P 500 ETF (SPY), with 17,500 February 210 puts and 15,003 February 222 puts on the board. The total put/call ratio as of 10:00 AM was 0.79 (250,200/197,790). NYSE Adv/Dec 1,478/1,335. Nasdaq Adv/Dec 1,120/1,227.

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Julian Close

Julian Close became a stockbroker in 1995. In his 20 years of market experience, he has seen all market conditions and written about every aspect of investing. Julian has also written extensively on corporate best practices and even written reports for the United Nations. He graduated from Davidson College in 1993 and received a Master of Arts in Teaching from Mary Baldwin College in 2011. You can see closing trades for all Julian's long and short positions and track his long term performance via twitter: @JulianClose_MIC.